All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. ~John Gunther

Monday, July 28, 2008

sky rockets in flight - cucumber delight

summer comes and sometimes you are too hot to cook. but you are still hungry. other times you just are exhausted from your day and cooking is hard. again, you're still hungry. thank goodness, then, for cucumbers, summer friend to the famished. a cucumber salad really needs nothing besides tasty cold cucumbers to make happy campers out of those hard working, sweaty summer laborers. so turn up the vampire weekend and get ready to chop!

here I took one cucumber and sliced it thinly into circles and then halves. then I added some chopped basil that was on its last legs and some scallions that were in similar condition. tossed in a handful of garbanzo beans (chick peas, if you prefer) and then mixed it all up. finally, I poured a bit of annie's cucumber-yogurt dressing onto the salad, poured some white wine into my glass, and sat down to read about john cheever's drunken escapades.

pros: no cooking, five minute prep time, yummy dinner.
cons: my mouth now tastes like stale cigarettes. I don't know what that's about, but I'm willing to bet it's unrelated to the cucumbers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

site of the month -- #2!

I decided that it was okay to have another site of the month, since it is very close to the first one. Our CSA at Stone Soup Farm started a pretty rockin' vegetable encyclopedia. Today, via The Grinder, I found a whole grains encyclopedia.

I have become mostly a whole grains kind of girl, when I can (although every once in awhile nothing beats some white pasta,) but sometimes I want to branch out and I am not sure how. I think this little gem might help, because it has pictures, descriptions, *and* cooking instructions!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

cheesy creamy greens on pasta.


OK, I forgot to take pictures, sorry. But this is good.

I was at a board meeting for the EMA Fund recently, where I am on the board (and where gina marie and sarah emily have both volunteered. If you want to volunteer, or give us money, you should let me know!) At this board meeting the host made us some food. It was *really* good, and I had to have the recipe. So, Erin Kate gave it to me (apparently it originally appeared in an Oregon newspaper in the nineties? sure!), and I made it for an EMA fundraising meeting that was at my house last night. Erin Kate had made it with spinach, I made it with chard and kale, since that what was looking less than stellar from the farmshare. I actually also had a lot of collard greens, but I was too afraid that I would try it and they would be tough. You can't really "wilt" collards.

OK, so here's what I did:

Melted 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat in large saute pan; added 6 or 7 cloves of finely chopped garlic and cooked it for 2-3 minutes.

Since I wasn't using spinach, I had to prepare my greens. I stripped the rainbow chard and the curly kale leaves off of their stems (I used a knife for the chard because it was so old and wilty, but the kale I could just sort of pull off.) I had just a little more than one farmshare bunch kale, and probably half a bunch of chard. Sorry I can't be more specific - maybe 12-15 stalks total? possibly more? I don't think it matters. once stripped, I chopped the greens into spinach leaf size pieces, and dropped it into the saute pan with a little salt.

then I covered it, and started working on the salad. I let it go maybe just a little longer than I should have. I stirred once. I think you want to cook it until just before any of the greens start to brown.

Next I added a medium sized container of heavy cream to the greens. I simmered that on medium high for about ten minuted. Then I used my immersion blender to coarsely chop the mixture in the saucepan, and to spray creamy greens all over myself!

Finally I added some more salt, several solid twists of the pepper grinder, and the juice of half a lemon. I also grated some fresh nutmeg (I had never tried this before. it is awesome. this is clearly the secret to yummy cheese sauces) and added an extra-large pinch of that.

When my 1.5 lbs of whole wheat penne finished cooking, I combined it with the sauce and some olive oil in bowl. et voila! came with salad of freshness from stone soup farm, and yummy onion dill bread, also from the farmshare.

I think this would be good on rice too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

corn and cucumber chilled soup

ah, the foolish. I count myself among their number. let me explain:

  • either with a hand mixer or blender, puree one can of corn with one cup vegetable stock
  • add cucumber, peeled and cut into inch-size pieces and puree
  • add 3 tablespoons of yogurt (soy or otherwise) and 3 tablespoons of parsley; puree
  • add 3 tablespoons of lime juice and puree
  • add salt and curry powder to taste
  • chill
  • serve
it's good. I promise. but then - oh! but then. do not go into a reverie about the weekend because a) it is Tuesday night and Saturday is so far off, but more importantly b) you just might dump all the remaining soup down the sink and have washed all the dishes before you think to yourself, "how should I store the leftovers?"

seriously. I have no recollection of dumping the rest of my perfectly good soup. all I remember is the fleeting thought that there seemed to be a lot parsley bits going down the drain. I drew the logical conclusion based on a lifetime's worth of idiocy.

Site of the Month: Stone Soup Farm Encyclopedia of Vegetables

on my way home last night, I stopped by my local farmer's market. the vegetables were beautiful - and occasionally mystifying. as I fondled a gorgeous cluster of pea tendrils, my roommate asked me what a person would do with those. "cook them like greens?" I suggested, really having no idea other than my deep instinct that pea tendrils were the greatest thing ever. we paused over some pumpkin stalks. no idea what to do with those either. then there was the leafy bundle of something with an unfamiliar name. "that's pretty," I mused, with nothing more to say on the matter.

chances are, everyone has had that experience: finding some vegetable or food that looks wonderful and most likely edible, but that's all the knowledge available. this occurs frequently with our CSA. The first time I was presented with kohlrabi I believe I let it sit on my counter until it was obviously bad. it wasn't intentional. I just had no idea what to do with the thing. it had a funny name.

well, the morning after my confrontation with the pumpkin stalks and pea tendrils, an email arrived in my inbox. Jarrett, the good farmer (and friend) behind our CSA, has begun a vegetable resource page. it's a work in progress, but already it boasts pretty pictures and brief yet informative descriptions. the entry for kale tells you what veggie "family" kale belongs and provides cooking instructions. in four sentences. this page is a gem and it's our site of the month.